Sunday, November 29, 2009

The holidays

It is difficult to save during the holiday season, but here are a couple of ways that we try to be frugal and green during the winter season.

1. Digital greeting cards. Last year we sent an ecard through Care2. They are free and you can include a link to a family picture album. We did a short slide show and posted it to Picasa. In Picasa desktop you can make collages with your pictures. Care2 has added photo cards, so you can put a family photo or create a custom one. We also discovered Microsoft photo Story. This year we will make a video with captions and music and upload it to You tube with a link. Its a much more personal way to keep in touch and let your friend see what you've been up to. Photo story is free.

2. Save gift bags and boxes. These come in handy during the whole year, since I inevitably do wrapping at the last possible minute. I can grab what I need out of the box in the closet. Don;t forget the holiday left overs....we sock away plastic containers to make sure we can send food home with family. Thinking ahead can help with containers for cookies and gifts (see below). Never doubt the power of baby food containers!

3. Make your own wrapping paper. This is great for kids and you can do it from just about anything. I had a roll of craft paper and asked my daughter to color some pictures on it. This takes a little more time, but some things need wrapping and don't fit in bags. Is your baby trying to "help" with wrapping? How about red and green hand prints on the paper?

4. Gift tags- I cut off the front picture of cards and reuse them as gift tags the next year. Writing in pencil helps too.

5. Spending time with your friends. Instead of going out, I like to invite people over to amek things to give to others, like making cookies. Mostly it is a good chance to spend time together, but it can be dual purpose. Be careful to have a good mix of oven, stove top, and microwave options. Not too many cookies can be done at once in the oven. Also prep space is valuable. Pre-made dough can be helpful.

6. Re-gifting swap. When you invite your friends...have a swap. Maybe you have a tea pot you don't want or other knick is a good chance to swap for those little things. Cleaning out your closets before the holidays is really important especially if you have a small house like I do!

7. Homemade gifts. Cookies aside there are a million things you can make as gifts that show your thoughtfulness. Bath salts, bath fizzies, small ornaments, magnets, origami... the list goes on...think of what you have a lot of and what you are good at. You got recycling? Maybe paper mache or origami or notebooks or.....what about old CD's? How about a miniature wreath......Old Altoids corks... I would love to hear your ideas on this!

What do you do?

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